Tuesday, 8 December 2009
by Matt Lynn
I've always felt that one of the best ways to approach any endeavor is the choose a role model. Then you don't exactly copy them, but you can let them inspire you. You can figure out what they were getting right, and try and do the same things.
When I started out on the Death Force series, I was planning to use Alistair MacLean as my role model. I used to love his books as a boy. They were robust, manly tales, full of exciting adventures, and not too many girls to slows things down. And MacLean was, of course, a terrific writer, and someone who could spin a plot until you were dizzy.
I was assuming that MacLean was a largely forgotten figure. But it turns out he's having a bit of a revival. In The Observer this weekend, Geoff Dyer wrote a fantastic piece about the film 'Where Eagles Dare' (for which MacLean wrote both the script and the book). And, of course, he's right: it's a terrific slice of action film-making, with a riveting plot, and Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood are both right at the top of their game. It knocks Quentin Tarantino's recent limp attempt at a WWII movie straight out of the park.
Then, according to The Bookseller, Harper Collins are planning to re-issue MacLean's books. They've put quite a few out already, and are planning to re-isssue the rest of the backlist next year. Whcih is great. I won't have to scour second-hand bookshops, or order battered copies of the Amazon second-hand section, to remind myself how good they were.
Anyway, maybe being the new Alistair MacLean is not such an obscure ambition after all. That's if I can ever make my books nearly as good as his.